NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Golden Knights vs. Stars (Dec. 8)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Golden Knights vs. Stars (Dec. 8) article feature image

Zak Krill/Getty images. Pictured: Mark Stone

Golden Knights vs. Stars Odds

Stars Odds+120
Golden Knights Odds-145
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Don't look now, but the Dallas Stars are the hottest team in the NHL. With a 9-1-0 record in their last 10 games, the Stars will face a tough test as they put their seven-game win streak on the line on Wednesday night.

Dallas will kick off a tough three-in-four road trip in Sin City, where the Vegas Golden Knights began a four-game homestand on Sunday with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames.

Dallas Stars

After a so-so start to the season, the Stars have vaulted themselves back into playoff contention, but a postseason spot is far from certain. With 28 points in 22 games, Dallas is in a four-way deadlock for second place in the Central Division before Tuesday's games. Colorado, St. Louis and Winnipeg also have 28 points and Nashville has 27.

Of late, the Stars have been excellent defensively, and have earned decisive wins. They've allowed more than two goals just once in the last 10 games — a disastrous 7-2 loss to Minnesota on Nov. 18. Seven of their nine victories in this stretch have been multi-goal wins as the offense is clicking, averaging 3.70 goals per game.

Their special teams rank in the top 10, but their underlying numbers at even strength are a mixed bag — they are near the bottom third of the league in both Possession and Expected Goals Percentage. A bright spot is High-Danger Corsi Percentage; the Stars control 56.67% of high-danger chances in their games.

Their PDO of 1.04 offers a hint about why this is true — the Stars' goaltending has been exceptional. Since his recall from the AHL on Nov. 13, Jake Oettinger has amassed a 5-0-0 record, .951 Save Percentage and 5.6 Goals Saved Above Expected — better than a goal a game.

Also, Braden Holtby has allowed just four total goals and picked up three wins since returning from a lower-body injury late last month. He earned the win in the Stars' last game against Arizona on Monday, so Oettinger should be set to start on Wednesday in Vegas.

Other than Ben Bishop, who remains sidelined with knee issues, the often injury-ravaged Stars are now basically healthy. John Klingberg returned Monday after missing one game with a non-Covid illness. Depth forward Michael Raffl is also ill.

Vegas Golden Knights

Speaking of injuries, they've been a big part of the Golden Knights' storyline this season, but Vegas is also getting healthier. Mark Stone has nine points in 10 games since returning from his lower-body injury, Max Pacioretty has seven points in five games since his return, and William Karlsson returned against Calgary on Sunday after missing 15 games — with a broken foot, and two games on the Covid protocol list.

With a 14-10-0 record, Vegas also sits at 28 points for the season, on the playoff bubble in the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights have shrugged off their early-season scoring woes by averaging 4.10 goals over their last 10 games (6-4-0), although their power play has underperformed. While their penalty killing is good, their defensive play has been sub-par, averaging 3.10 Goals Against.

For the moment, the Golden Knights are scoring enough that they don't need Robin Lehner to be heroic every night. He's third in the league in shots faced this season, so it's understandable that he's already looking at February's Olympic break as an opportunity to rest his body and his brain rather than suiting up for Sweden in Beijing.

Golden Knights vs. Stars  Pick

Is Dallas' white-hot goaltending enough of a reason to back the underdog? If you go down that road, proceed with caution.

The Golden Knights have scored three goals or more in 11 of their last 15 games and have been trending upward, especially since Pacioretty's return.

The Stars have built their winning streak during a very favorable portion of their schedule. Eight of their 10 wins have come at home, and their two road games were the 7-2 loss in Minnesota and a narrow 3-2 victory in Arizona — a team that they have easily dispatched twice on home ice.

We don't hear much about the Vegas Flu these days; teams are now more aware of what to expect and how to guard against the distractions of Sin City.

But the Fortress at T-Mobile Arena remains an intimidating venue for opponents. Vegas is a solid 8-5-0 on home ice this season while Dallas is just 4-5-1 on the road.

At -145, the oddsmakers at BetMGM are giving Vegas nearly a 60% chance of victory on Wednesday night. That's fair value, as the Stars look set to take their first loss since Nov. 18, but don't ride that line any lower.

Pick: Golden Knights (-145)

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